After Dutch botanists Jan (1629-1692) and his nephew Caspar (1667-1731) Commelijn, known to Linnaeus and Charles Plumier, a French Franciscan monk, botanist and traveler who apparently named this flower. Jan, or Johan, Commelijn was a doctor and the director of botany at the Hortus Medicus (Medical Garden) in Amsterdam, who worked with many Asian tropical plants sent back to Holland. Linnaeus allegedly decided to commemorate the Commelins because the dayflower has two large petals (for Jan and Caspar) and a third small petal (for another Commelijn who died young before he could accomplish anything in botany), but this may well be an apocryphal though convenient explanation
In Latin “common, general” and means growing in communities
Asiatic dayflower is so named because it is native to much of East Asia and northern Southeast Asia,
and because it blooms only once, during the morning, for a single day.
It was introduced to central and southeastern Europe and eastern North America. It is considered
a noxious weed in Europe and North America, as well as in parts of its native range. Asiatic dayflower
is able to absorb some metals from contaminated sites, so it may prove useful as a means of
cleaning and restoring soils at old copper mines.
moist soils and disturbed sites.
Plants: 12-36" (30-91 cm) long, either erect (especially if there are
surrounding plants) or sprawling along the ground, with a reddish stem.
Flowers: Sometimes produces a single predominantly blue flower,
½-¾" (1.5-2 cm) wide, with two large blue petals arranged like Mickey Mouse ears,
and a third much smaller white petal centered below. The flower has 3 sepals,
5-6 stamens, and a long white style. The flower has bilateral symmetry:
cut down the center, the two sides are mirror images.
Fruits: A seed capsule ⅛-¼" (4.5-8 mm) long
has two sections, each containing
two bumpy dark brown-yellow or black seeds.
Edibility: Leaves, flowers, and young shoots are edible,
raw or cooked, in salads or soups. They are said to taste sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.
Medical: Asiatic dayflower has been used as a diuretic,
for sore throats, for treating bleeding, diarrhea, fever; and is a possible candidate for an antibacterial.
None of these uses are confirmed.